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19 Quick Pick-Me-Ups for Under-the-Weather Tots

Turn a tiny frown upside down with these cheerer-uppers.

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Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
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Here’s some ways to pile on the TLC when your little one is out of sorts.

Feeling a bit off is no fun for babies—and ministering to a sick kid is no walk in the park for you. Whether your sweetie is teething, warding off a cold, fighting a stomach bug, or wrestling with an ear infection, she will need extra attention. These tried-and-true strategies will help.

Soothe and Snuggle

Little ones want (and need) extra TLC when they’re feeling less than perky. If that describes your child:

  1. Lean in.
    Keep your baby close to you. Snuggle up, listen to lullabies, sing, talk softly, and spend quiet moments together.

  2. Boost pacifier time.
    Extra sucking can help comfort babies who are achy or in pain.

  3. Encourage more sleep than usual.
    Offer longer naptimes and usher your cutie into bed earlier at night. Consider a car ride for fussy babies. At home, add a warm bath or some white noise.

  4. Increase physical comfort.
    Opt for loose clothing. Lightweight layers are ideal, since temperature can fluctuate.

  5. Change the bedding often.
    Nice clean sheets are awesome when your baby’s cranky. Try the lasagna method of bed making: a few layers of mattress pads and sheets, so you can pull a soiled one off and—presto—the fresh layer is already in place.

  6. Dim the lights and play soft music.
    Set the tone for quiet play and extra z’s.

  7. Offer liquids and soothing treats to keep little ones hydrated.
    Try chilled, soft foods like applesauce and yogurt. For toddlers, add low-sugar ice pops or alphabet soup.

  8. Blow bubbles.
    Keep extra wands around the house—especially ones that come in mesmerizing shapes and sizes.

  9. Color untraditional surfaces.
    Decorate a window, mirror, or a glass-topped table using kid-friendly, washable markers.

  10. Draw shapes to amaze
    or funny faces to make your baby laugh.

  11. Arrange a video chat with Grandma.
    Share the funny faces and pretty colors, too.

  12. Host a puppet show for baby.
    Use homemade characters or favorite stuffed animals to create a story. Later, hide the toys and let baby find them.

  13. Look at picture books together.
    Reading is a great way to calm a cranky baby and help usher in sweet dreams.

  14. Use screen time—wisely.
    Select a few age-appropriate videos to vary your music and story time—if your baby is in the mood.

  15. Create a spa-like retreat.
    Line up a cool-mist humidifier, soft music, and a baby massage.

  16. Fashion a sauna at home.
    Close the bathroom door and build up steam for your own hot shower. Share a moment and relax.

  17. Plan a strollsymptoms, weather, and baby’s mood permitting.
    Fresh air feels good and new sights inspire.

  18. Play EMT, nurse, or doctor.
    Show your baby how to care for under-the-weather stuffed animals. When they feel better, let her tuck them in and say good night.

  19. Be prepared for the next time.
    Pick up these goodies now (or set them aside after a birthday or holiday) and pull them out for under-the-weather fun.

  • Bubble wands and solution

  • Crayons and markers

  • Bath toys

  • New toothbrushes and pacifiers

  • Picture books

  • Gelatin packets to make snacks kids can play with

  • Popsicle molds

  • A playlist of soothing music and a list of favorite videos